USDA Farm Service Agency Minnesota executive director Linda Hennen reminds landowners and producers that a general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program ends April 15.
During this sign-up period, farmers and ranchers may offer eligible land through the local Farm Service Agency county office.
"This is the 25th Anniversary of the Conservation Reserve Program. CRP has shown great environmental improvements during that time," said Hennen. "We want all interested farmers and ranchers to contact the local FSA office to find out how they might offer eligible land for this program which preserves the soil, cleans water and restores habitat for wildlife."
CRP is a voluntary program that allows environmentally sensitive land be used for conservation benefits. Producers accepted in the program plant long-term, resource conserving vegetative covers in exchange for rental payments, cost share and technical assistance. By reducing water runoff and sedimentation, CRP protects groundwater and improves the condition of lakes, rivers, ponds and streams. The vegetative covers offers improved wildlife habitat, making it a major contributor to the increase in wildlife population.
FSA evaluates and ranks eligible land offered for CRP using the Environmental Benefits Index. The EBI review looks at five environmental factors: wildlife, water, soil, air and enduring benefits, as well as cost. The land is ranked based on which would offer the greatest environmental benefits.
In addition to this general sign-up, CRP's continuous sign-up program is ongoing. Continuous acres represent the most environmentally desirable and sensitive land. For more information about CRP, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/crp.